Stop redesigning !

There are certain things that are fine as they are and should not change !  No redesign necessary!

Like, showers in hotels.  

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Every hotel has a different configuration of knobs and levers.  The new trend is to hide key buttons/levers in an attempt to be minimalistic (sic!).  Getting the water to the right temperature, right pressure and flowing from the right orifice in the wall is not for the faint hearted.  Thinking that a nice long shower will wake you up?  Think again, you better be wide awake before you get into the shower to be able to operate it and sometimes you need to take your reading glasses into the shower to read the instructions and labels and warnings!

Traveling is fun.. discover new places, peoples, culture, food and such… how to operate the shower should not be one of those things.  I have a system now –

  1. First identify how to start the flow of water – push, pull, turn, lift, slide, whatever it takes.  Start with best guess of which knob and work your way through others.  Make sure you are outside the tub/shower area/splash zone before you do this – remember the water temperature, water pressure and where the water will actually exit the wall are all unknowns.  Pray that your arms are long and flexible enough to do this by going around beautiful obstacles like elegant glass doors.
  2. Next figure out how to increase/decrease the water pressure.  Here again, go through the following in a disciplined way  pull, push, lift, turn, etc.  In many cases, step 5 needs to be perfumed in conjunction with this step
  3. Next figure out which direction to go to increase/decrease the water temperature.  Do not rely on the markings since the fittings may have moved since the original installation.  This may take a while since sometimes the pipes are cold, people!  it takes a while for hot water to start flowing.  Depending on the country “C” does not always mean cold.  Do not fall for the blue is cold and red is hot trick when instead of words you see colors.
  4. Next start the discovery of what it will take to redirect water to the spout/shower head/hand shower.  Here again, do not approach with preconceived ideas.  The magic trigger can be on the spout or the shower head, can be a pull, push or slide, can be a button or in some cases a completely different fitting that seems out of place – don’t be fooled.  In other words have your coffee and be ready
  5. You are almost there – it is very likely that there are additional controls directly on the fitting from which water is flowing.  For e.g. shower heads can be turned to change the way water flows – gentle rain to swedish massage to a bee sting setting. Be tall enough (how tall? cannot say, required height will vary) and use both hands for this operation for it is very likely that while you attempt to change the type of flow the entire head will move and change the direction of water.  This may not be a good thing if you are not expecting to wash your hair that morning.  
  6. If you want to use the tub – you are on your own to find how to plug/unplug the drain.  I don’t use tubs in hotels. 

I wonder if there is a keep showers simple petition I can sign on

There are other bloody well leave alone issues

Like climate control, lights and mirrors in rental cars

Like overuse of icons instead of text (see a friend’s rant here)

Like where to plug the damn head phone in (I was recently on American’s new 777 with lie flat, every seat has aisle access plane and it took me a long time to figure out where the damn Bose headset plugs into.  And when I figured it out, I had to do plug it in by feel alone since I could not get my head in the right position to see the socket orientation to plug the head phone jack into)

Like the secret hidden maneouver to throw the car into reverse in manual transmission cars

Like secret gestures and swipes to activate/deactivate features in apps

whats your peeve?

There must be certain areas – public by definition – where the number of users are large that necessarily need a design code.  The design keeps things simple and consistent to support users with diverse backgrounds – language, physical characteristics, gender, countries.  This code will apply to things areas like public transportation for example.

I am sure there is a such a thing, I just haven’t been able to enter the right magic phrase into google to direct me to what i am looking for.  If you know what this area is called, please let me know.



1 comment

  1. Add to it hotel doors that unlock when you turn the knob from inside… Agree on the upsurge of buttons. Recently found a Siemens lift that had a “o” shaped icon, unlit, that you had to press to call the lift. Since it was unlit you could easily confuse it for a logo.

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